Health experts in Pune warn against rampant reopening of public spaces
The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), on Friday, announced ease in curbs from June 14. Under the new order, essential and non-essential shops will now remain open till 7 pm in the city, also malls will open up with 50 per cent capacity among other relaxations.
The decision was taken by deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar in a review meeting held at Council Hall, Pune.
While the traders, shopkeepers and shop owners in malls are happy, health experts opine that such rampant reopening of public spaces could invite a severe third wave of Covid-19 and caution needs to be taken while stepping out in public places.
Dr Subhash Salunkhe, chairman, Maharashtra Communicable Diseases Prevention and Control Technical Committee, said, “In today’s meeting with deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar I have clearly said that unconditional permissions cannot be given to open up shops and other entities. There should be some restrictions and easing should be done in a phase-wise manner.”
“While they are trying to bring the economic activity back on track, the safety of people should be the top priority amid a pandemic,” he said.
“The current decline in the number of Covid-19 cases should be monitored daily. If we see plateauing in the number of Covid-19 cases that means we are heading for a situation where there would be a recurrence. And if the graph goes up then we are likely to experience a potential third wave. Considering this point, if everything is reopened in Pune then there should be some restrictions and conditions to remain and PMC should monitor it daily,” he added.
The traders on the other hand are happy with the administration’s decision to allow non-essential shops to operate till 7 pm.
“It is a welcome decision that shop timings are now extended till 7 pm,” said Fatechand Ranka, president of the Federation of Trade Association of Pune (FTAP).
“Since the shops were allowed to operate till 4 pm there was hardly any business. Now due to this extended timings people returning home from work could do shopping on their way,” he said.
“At the same time it is extremely important for all of us, to avoid crowding at marketplaces and follow all safety measures,” said Ranka.
Mahesh M, chief executive officer of Creaticity Mall, said, “We are eager to open our gates on Monday. Home improvement is now a must-do and so we are all set in terms of choice of products, sanitized stores and spaces and of course a set of SOPS are in place.”
“We are prepared to provide a safe and hygienic environment, well-prepared staff, warm and courteous as usual, tech aids to ensure contactless shopping, all of these are in place,” he said.